Painter and protests: Here's what happened outside King Misuzulu's certificate ceremony

Street sellers sold their merchandise outside the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Street sellers sold their merchandise outside the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Image: Mfundo Mkhize

Enterprising stallholders plying their trade during the official handover of a certificate of recognition to King Misuzulu kaZwelithini in Durban expressed mixed reactions about business during the landmark event.

Some felt their hopes of making a quick buck were dashed by the poor support from the public while others felt the provision of free food inside the perimeters of the stadium limited their opportunities.

Doris Mpofana, who lives in uMngeni, said she had made a loss after spending a fortune on stocks of food she was selling.

“Had we known about this we would not have ordered a surplus of stock to sell during the event,” she said.

The main entrance to the stadium had been transformed into a melting pot for people selling anything from traditional attire and other paraphernalia such as mugs with the face of the king emblazoned on them.

Her sentiments were echoed by Sbongile Ngcobo from Inanda who had made a trek to the stadium with the hope of selling an assortment of merchandise which included straw hats, beaded necklaces and caps.

The mother of three, who was being assisted by her only surviving daughter, painted a bleak picture of her sales.

“The biggest problem with me was that most people just did not look twice when they came past my stall. I don’t know what may have been the problem, but I suspect its because they were just too many of us who were trying to get a piece of the pie,” said Ngcobo.

Marianhill artists Bheki Zulu who had painted AI-size portraits of the Zulu monarch said while he had not done a roaring trade he hoped his presence would have positive spin-offs for the future.

“I managed to solidify my business through getting my name out there. I have no doubt that people would phone me with requests for these photographs and whatever paintings they desire,” said Zulu.

Brian Mncube, 48, who hails from the Newcastle area, was selling hats and T-shirts.

He said while business had been erratic in the morning, it was worth his while.  

“I am trying to make things work for my family. I need to send my children to school,” said Mncube.

Mncube often makes and sells political regalia.

While this was going on a small group of picketers from a civic organisation group called 'South Africa is not for sale' brandished placards.

The group was led by Bishop Bheki Xulu who was scathing about the infiltration of foreign nationals in the country.

He said they hoped to get the attention of the king and international dignitaries who attended the occasion.

“We want him [the king] to intervene because most of these foreigners seem to have hijacked our country. They have taken ownership of all the buildings that should be housing people,” said Xulu.

He hoped the king would pressure the government to fix the country’s porous borders and “dysfunctional” home affairs department.

He added they had penned a letter to both the president and the king to raise their concerns.


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